Tinder’s Effect on Dating for Millennials

Part 3 of 4 of the Tinder Dating Series. Find part 1 here and part 2 here.

If you are a millennial, particularly a single female millennial, this article is a read that should be on your radar. It is called “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse,’” and it was recently published online by Vanity Fair. The article has picked up quite a bit of press, so naturally, I feel the need to publish my opinions on the dating app. This article is a look into the culture Tinder has created for Millennial dating. Specifically we will talk about how one navigates the impossible task of finding a boyfriend because Tinder has made hooking up so accessible and prevalent.

Sex, You Are Not Special

One thing we need to realize is that for many, sex is not special anymore. Tinder has created an environment where sex is, at times, easy, faceless, and commitment-less. The casual sex culture characterizing our generation has made it so that sex comes with no strings attached. Sleeping with someone is incredibly intimate, yet our generation feels as if you owe someone you’ve slept with a time or two absolutely nothing. In college, I knew people who had slept with one another and wouldn’t even say hi to each other if they were at the same party.

Sex has transitioned quite a lot over the past century. First it was an act we had only with our husbands. Then it became an act we had only with people we were seriously dating and/or potentially intended to marry. Then it transitioned into a more casual state. People would have casual sex, but it was something many people chose to still only do with people they were in serious relationships with. There was also still a special stigma around the act, and mutual respect was intertwined within the act.

Zero in on today- sex is not special- at all. As discussed above, mutual respect is only part of the deal if you have been consistently having sex with somebody. Because sex is now so casual, it is no longer an end goal. We are not prompted to commit to one person and begin a relationship because that is what it takes to get to the next phase with someone- having sex. Now we have sex before even knowing what the person’s last name is sometimes. Getting to intimately know somebody can come after multiple sexual encounters. Or we could very well not know the people we are having sex with at all.

If You Are Looking For A Significant Other

There are a million different ways in which people end up in relationships. No story is the same. Therefore, there is no set of rules or tricks that can guide us to the finish line- aka our next boyfriend. However, I think that there is value in treating sex a certain way if you are looking to settle down. Sex is definitely a focal point for many, and because it’s so easily attained now, it sometimes feels like we are living in a minor form of a sex-focused era.
A tactic I have seen work for boyfriend hunting is to re-instate the specialness of sex. You would do this through only having it with someone who has really invested time, effort, and a willingness to communicate with you. The ONLY way you distinguish yourself from being just another notch on someone’s belt is if you proactively make it that way.

The Vanity Fair article talks about the fact that many are incredibly bored by how easy and attainable sex has gotten. You stick out in no ones mind if you sleep with someone after minimal interactions. Make the other person work for it, and suddenly you are noteworthy enough to pay attention to. Once someone sees they have to put in more than just a few cute lines to get into bed with you, its time for them to decide whether they are going to spend the mental effort and time getting to know who you are and what you’re about.

It is true that there will be guys/girls who, once seeing that they have to put in effort to be with you, will abandon ship. These are the people who are either not interested in a relationship at this point in time or just really are not interested in you. Many girls think that sleeping with a guy in this situation will open his eyes to how much he likes you. 99.9% of the time, he’s never going to speak to you again unless its to get you in bed for another round. These people are not worth your time and effort, and they are the ones that hand you a one way ticket to a pint of ice cream and a box of tissues. Okay, so they aren’t into you for whatever reason- be confident enough to say screw them instead of literally screwing them. Am I preaching? Yes a little bit.

If someone clearly is unwilling to put in effort with you, and you still sleep with them, your right to complain about the fact that they never spoke to you again is revoked. I have few pet peeves bigger than people who are presented with a situation with a very predictable outcome- who then freak out once the predictable outcome becomes their reality. Do not live your life by passively assuming you will be the exception.

Tinder and Relationships

Another thing I do not have a tolerance for are girls (or guys) who desperately want a significant other and continue to use Tinder to hook up with people in the chance it will turn into something. These people often times get upset when they sleep with someone they matched with and then the person never contacts them again. What do you expect?

The Vanity Fair article portrayed the girls having sex with guys on Tinder as confused and sad after the guys they had sex with don’t end up talking to them afterwards. Call me feminist- but I want to believe that these girls cannot be THAT dumb. If you’re going to have sex with a guy before he’s taken you on a date- bought you a drink, consistently made an effort to talk to you- could you expect anything else?

It’s a lot harder to meet people now- this is true. It might take longer and require more effort than you would like, but these apps make “connecting” easy for a reason. They were not created to help you find your soul mate (even if they are claiming they were). Our generation needs to recognize that the ease of matching is not going to translate into our relationship searches. Finding someone to care about is never going to be as easy as “swipe right.” Technology greatly reduces the effort we have to put in for almost every area of our lives- one aspect it cannot simplify is human on human relationships! The thinking around these dating apps needs to change. Tinder is not there to match you with your next serious boyfriend.


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[…] Part 4 of 4 of the Tinder Dating Series. Find part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here. […]